Have At It: Sticky Buns

When we decided to move to Seattle in the middle of 2014, I was bummed that it meant I probably wouldn’t meet my goal of cooking with my dad at least twelve times before the year was over. I’d been having a lot of fun learning how to make some of the things my dad makes that I love most, and I’d really been enjoying collecting my dad’s stories. Plus, you know how I feel about goals and failure.  

Our year in Seattle was really hard in some ways, not least of which was feeling so far from my family. I had never lived outside of Colorado, and I’d always been in a pretty consistent rhythm of seeing my parents and siblings regularly. I missed them a lot, especially in the earliest days of my pregnancy.

My mom and dad made it work to fly to Seattle and spend five days with us after Abe was born, and they were some of the sweetest days of my life so far. Partly because my mom did all of our laundry and my dad cooked us three meals every day, but mostly because it took me by surprise how incredible it felt to see them love my baby the way they did, they way they do. They held him and sang to him and changed his diapers, and I wept uncontrollably the day they left.

Just a few weeks later, we made the move back to Denver with our boy. It’s taken me a little while to make plans for cooking with my dad again, but I’ve had these last two recipes in mind since before we even decided to move away. I've been so excited just thinking about sharing this with you. Christmastime has always been special for my family, and this recipe has long been a Christmas morning staple. You know, the thing you snack on with your coffee while you wait for the main event breakfast/brunch? You know.

My dad told me he thinks this recipe came from one of my aunts, but he couldn’t remember for sure. I’m certain there are endless versions of sticky buns out there, but I feel confident that these are the only ones I’ll ever make. They taste like my childhood and Christmas. Plus they’re SO quick and easy, there’s kind of no reason not to make them (unless you don't eat gluten or sugar or dairy). You still have time to pick up all the ingredients and prep them for this year's Thanksgiving morning, in fact. You could eat them while you watch the Macy's Parade!

Sticky Buns


1 three ounce box of vanilla JELL-O cook & serve 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of sliced almonds (if you like nuts in your baked goods)

20 small white Rhodes dinner rolls


1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cook & serve, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

2. Grease a bundt pan with the stick of butter, then melt the remaining butter and find a plate/platter big enough to cover the top of your bundt pan. You'll need it when you pull them out of the oven.

3. Arrange the frozen rolls in the bundt pan, making sure to count out exactly 20.

4. Drizzle the butter over the top of the frozen rolls, making sure to coat the tops of all the rolls. Also make note of the melted butter pooled at the bottom of the bundt pan - it will be HOT later.

5. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the rolls, then cover with a paper towel and let rise overnight. Placing a cookie sheet underneath the bundt pan will help catch the sprinkles of dry ingredients that would otherwise spill all over your counter/floor/refrigerator. (My dad recommends placing the whole deal on top of your refrigerator because he thinks the heat from the motor helps the rolls rise. It worked for me.)

6. Preheat your oven to 350 before making your morning coffee. When it’s warm, slide your bundt pan/cookie sheet combo in for 30 minutes. You want the tops of the rolls to be a nice, golden brown on top.

7. As soon as you pull the pan out of the oven, cover it with your plate/platter and flip the sticky buns out of the bundt pan. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot butter, and be prepared to dirty your oven mitt/towel/whatever you use to take hot dishes out of the oven.

8. Use a spatula to clear all of the sticky butter/sugar out of the bottom of the bundt pan and drizzle over the top of your sticky buns. 

9. Make some more coffee and get ready to party!

One of my goals for 2014 was to write one “Have At It” post per month, to include a story from my dad’s life with one of his recipes. I figured if nothing else, it would give me some motivation to get serious about getting my dad’s stories down, even if I had to write them myself. I only got ten recipes down in 2014, due to moving out of state and birthing my first child, so I'm finishing up the last two now in November and December, 2015. 

Previous Have At It Posts:

Homemade Pickles

Garlic Cheese Bread + Croutons

Chicken Caesar Salad

Reese's Rice Krispie Treats

Tacos and Salsa


Bean Dip Poppers

Goldrush Cookies



Hey there! Happy Friday. It's 3 pm and I'm currently getting caught up on last night's Grey's Anatomy which features a SLEEPING AT LAST COVER OF 'AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME' BY THE BACKSTREET BOYS. Come onnnnn. Also, these stamps showed up in the mail this week, so I'm ready to get to work on my Christmas cards now. Only one more week until it's socially acceptable to start sending them, right? Right. Here are some of my favorite things from The Internet lately - just for you. Enjoy!  

This is insane.

This looks like the perfect thing to pair with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"We tell ourselves, in the back of our minds and sometimes in the front of our mouths, 'there must be something a little wrong with those poor people.'" This is so good.

This is fun! And free!

This is basically the ultimate perfect Christmas gift for a person like me.

We watched the first episode of this last night and, oh my, it was funny.

Some Favorite Podcasts

  Click an image to visit the pod's URL!


Click an image to visit the pod's URL!

Since I currently get to stay home with baby Abe and he's not supposed to have screen time in the same room until he's two years old, we do a lot of listening during the day. Lots of music (this is a particular favorite at the moment), but also lots of podcasts. Do you have any idea how many podcast options there are these days? Truly there's something for everyone!

I'm still listening to This American Life and Nerdist regularly, but the other pods pictured above are some newer discoveries. Rachel tipped me off about The Writer's Almanac, which I love. Each episode is only about five minutes long, so it's not too much of a commitment even though it's intended for daily listening. I downloaded this episode of On Being based on Molly Wizenberg's recommendation, and I found at least ten others I'm excited to listen to as I scrolled through the archives. I think Chelsea Peretti's pod is the only one I've heard every episode of, and I'm not ashamed to tell you I've tried calling in a handful of times. She's hilarious and insightful and just fantastically entertaining.

I started listening to The Longest Shortest Time while I was pregnant, and it continues to be a source of encouragement and solidarity in the day-to-day newness of motherhood. The Nerdist Writer's Panel is interesting because of all the insider information it allows the listener to glean, and OMG, if you listen to no other podcast for the rest of 2015, please God give Another Round a chance. I promise you won't be disappointed.

What about you? Got any favorite podcasts? 

So Happy It Hurts

The title of this post may have led you to believe that it was going to be about the fact that Missy Elliott just dropped a new video (gah! the puppets!), but alas, it's actually about my baby.

Abe hit seven months old on Tuesday and I found myself in tears that morning, telling Dann how sad I was that he seems to be getting older so fast. As I tried to articulate why the realization that our son is growing and changing and basically doing exactly what he's supposed to do made me feel so so sad, these are the words that tumbled out: "I'm sad because he's a little bit less connected to me each day, that as he grows up he'll separate himself from us in order to become a healthy, functional adult. And I'm sad that one day death will separate us." Now, I do sometimes have a slight tendency to put the proverbial cart before the horse and worry needlessly about the future. I fully believe that Dann and I will grow old together as Abe's mom and dad, and I have a deeply rooted hope that we will see him do things like graduate from high school, get married, and one day have kids of his own. I also believe in the general idea of life after death and eternity and all that, so I don't believe that death has the final word, just that it comes with a very real sadness.

But on Tuesday morning, in that moment at the kitchen sink, as I realized where the sadness was coming from, I looked at my husband and my baby boy and I had to catch my breath. Because, I thought, this is it. This is my life. It's happening now. The reason the prospect of being separated from my baby makes me so sad is because he is such a true gift. Because when I see him smile or hear him giggle, it's almost too much for me to handle. Because I feel a literal, physical ache in my chest when I think about how much I love him. Because the other night when I couldn't sleep and, again, tried to articulate what I was feeling to Dann, the only words I could muster were "I'm so happy it hurts". I didn't know, you guys. I didn't know that becoming a mom would make me feel such feelings

The truth is that last seven months have not been what I would call 'easy', but they have been so so good and today I want to proclaim it. Amen?